The Adventures Of Young Indiana Jones Volume One - The Early Years from Paramount
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DVD sets don’t come more generous or well-intended than The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Volume One. George Lucas’ 1990s television series, inspired by his feature film collaborations with Steven Spielberg and actor Harrison Ford, used a childhood version of Jones as a catalyst for involving young viewers in the dynamics of 20th century history and thought. As much a scamp as Ford’s swaggering hero-with-a-bullwhip, little Henry "Indy" Jones (Corey Carrier) gets into a great deal of mischief in his travels around the world with his disciplined father, Professor Henry Jones, Sr. (Lloyd Owen, doing a credible version of Sean Connery’s voice from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade). Also accompanied by his mother (Ruth de Sosa) and imperious tutor, Miss Seymour (Margaret Tyzack), Indy ends up in various unanticipated adventures with some of the most noteworthy individuals of his age. A trip to Paris finds him cavorting with young Norman Rockwell and an ultra-arrogant Pablo Picasso (who is out to prove that the style of aging Impressionist Edgar Degas is easy to forge). A stay in India lands Indy in the company of the great guru, Krishnamurti. In Russia, he feuds with Tolstoy as if the two were in a buddy movie. In Italy, Puccini puts romantic moves on Mrs. Jones, while Indy listens carefully in Vienna to definitions of love by none other than Freud, Jung and Adler.
The overall effect of these handsome, feature-length stories, all shot on glorious location, is of a certain audacity--Lucas having the nerve to name-drop all over the place and situate Jones with some of the greatest achievers in world culture. But each episode is nothing less than spectacularly educational as well as entertaining. Scripts are carefully written to reflect what these famous individuals actually contributed to mankind, and to give a sense of what their personalities were like. The last three shows in Volume One find Jones at age 20 (played by Sean Patrick Flanery), now more or less on his own as he gets into various scrapes in Mexico (where he rides with Pancho Villa) and Ireland (where he meets William Butler Yeats). There is so much to glean from these stories, but even more to bask in on the set’s many special features, which include multiple, exquisitely produced documentaries about the historical figures, political and artistic movements, and crucial events that play into this series. This is a great set for kids (probably beginning at the 6th grade level) and adults as well, preferably to watch together. --Tom Keogh